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Tag Archives: success during COVID pandemic

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Amidst this pandemic, it’s been difficult to stay motivated. When I get in a rut, I’ve found that watching a TED Talk can pull me out of it. Recently, I watched a TED Talk by psychologist Dr. ANGELA LEE DUCKWORTH on the subject of grit. She first noticed a correlation between success and grit when she was working as a school teacher in a difficult neighborhood. A child’s scholarly success was not necessarily related to their IQ; more often than not, it was related to their dogged perseverance, or grit. As we drudge through the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are beginning to understand just how much grit it takes to keep going.

In her TED Talk, Duckworth discusses the origins of her studies on grit. She noticed the difference between natural talent and grit as a teacher, which led her to pursue a career in psychology and make grit the subject of most of her research. She studied diverse groups of people—from military cadets to students to sales people—and, time and again, observed that grit was a key attribute to success.


THE PEOPLE WHO KEPT GOING DESPITE FAILURES OR SETBACKS, THE PEOPLE WHO WERE COMMITTED TO A JOB OR TASK FOR THE LONG-TERM, WERE THE ONES WHO USUALLY SUCCEEDED.


With unemployment rates at an unfortunate high and people constantly grappling with anxiety from all the uncertainty, grit is as important as ever. How do you foster grit in your own life and your children’s? Duckworth admits that the research is lacking, but a few interesting ideas have risen to the surface. One study shows that developing a “growth mentality” helps create a gritty personality. A growth mentality has to do with the belief that failure is NOT a permanent state. Rather, failure helps us develop and equips us for future success. 

Keep in mind, grit isn’t directly related to talent. A big part of success is perseverance and having the tenacity to follow through, no matter what. You may have already developed perseverance simply by way of survival, or you might have to learn it. Fortunately, it IS something you can learn. Start pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, commit to your goals, and have patience with yourself. You’re not going to learn perseverance and grit overnight.

Since we’re far-removed from our previous routines, it’s important to realize that it takes grit to be where you are now–to be present and forge ahead. Surviving during a pandemic is a challenge on its own, and on top of that we’re forced to deal with changes made at work that can include physical distancing, budget cuts, or lay offs.

Success and failure work hand in hand with learning and growing. Picking yourself back up after an attempt gone wrong is the easiest way to learn from your mistakes. Building grit now can strengthen your character and help you achieve your long term goals, even after the pandemic has long passed. 

For Dr. Duckworth’s full TED Talk, please click the link below:


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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